NEWS

Israel Embassy attack reveals security lapses

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Crime, Politics

The investigation into the paint attack at the Israeli Embassy in Athens at 6 a.m. on Christmas Day has revealed lapses in security procedures, according to sources.

Kathimerini understands that at the moment of the attack by members of the anti-establishment group Rouvikonas in northern Athens, the two police guards on duty did nothing to stop or pursue the culprits apart from notifying police headquarters, as they are required to do in such situations.

According to footage posted by Rouvikonas on an anti-establishment website, around 10 people wearing motorcycle helmets are seen running up to the embassy and throwing red paint on to the building’s facade, unhindered, before driving off on motorbikes.

The group has been linked to numerous acts of vandalism of public property, hospitals and state offices.

A Greek Police (ELAS) official told Kathimerini that the actions of the two guards “are being evaluated” while police union representatives defended the pair, saying that they acted in accordance to what is expected of them.

The investigation further revealed that there was no police car parked outside the building as stipulated in security plans designed to protect the embassy.

Another police source said that members of the group had been monitoring the movements of security officials and knew when the building would be most vulnerable.

“In the 52 seconds that the attack lasted we didn’t have enough time to respond,” the source told Kathimerini.

“[Rouvikonas] acts on the border of legality, but whenever it crosses [that line] it pays and it will pay in this case also,” said Alternate Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas, who called Israeli Ambassador to Greece Irit Ben-Abba on Tuesday to condemn the attack and pledge that every effort would be made to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Meanwhile, the Popular Fighters Group – an extreme leftist group – claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the bombing on December 22 at an Athens courthouse.

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